Following the murder of Mary Kelly, which took place in Miller’s Court, off Dorset Street, on November the 9th 1888, the Jack the Ripper murders appeared to have come to an end, and, for the next few months, the newspapers were speculating about what might have become of the murderer.
Numerous theories were circulating in the pages of the popular newspapers, as reporters tried to explain that which we are still trying to explain today – what had become of the Whitechapel murderer and why did his crimes cease so abruptly?
MORE JACK THE RIPPER MURDERS?
But then, in February, 1889, news broke, that similar murders had been carried out in Central America, and the press began speculating that this may well explain, not only what had become of the murderer, but also what sort of person he may have been.
The Cornish Times took up the story in its edition of Saturday, 23rd February, 1889:-
SIX WOMEN MURDERED AND MUTILATED
“The New York Sun publishes the following special despatch from Managua, Nicaragua, which is dated January 24th:-
Either Jack the Ripper, of Whitechapel, has emigrated from the scene of his ghastly murders, or he has found one or more imitators in this part of Central America.
The people have been greatly aroused by six of the most atrocious and ghastly murders ever committed within the limits of this city.
The murderer – or murderers have vanished – as quickly as Jack the Ripper, and no traces have been left for identification.
All of the victims were women of the same character of those who met their fates at the hands of the London murderer. Like those women of Whitechapel, they were women who had sunk to the lowest degradations of their calling. They have been found murdered just as mysteriously, and the murders point to almost identical methods.
Two were found butchered out of all recognition. Even their faces were most horribly slashed, and, in the cases of all the others, their persons were frightfully disfigured.
There is no doubt that sharp a instrument, violently but dexterously used, was the weapon that sent the poor creatures out of the world.
NO APPARENT MOTIVE
Like Jack the Ripper’s victims, they have been found in out of the way places, three of them in the suburbs of the town, and the others in dark alleys and comers.
Two of the victims were found with gaudy jewellery, and from this it is urged that the mysterious murderer has not committed the crimes for robbery.
In the cases of the other four, a few coins were found on their persons, representing, no doubt, the prospective consideration for the murderer or murderers.
IDENTICAL TO THE WHITECHAPEL HORRORS
All of the victims were in the last stages of shabbiness and besottedness. In fact, in almost every detail the crimes and the characteristics are identical with the Whitechapel horrors.
All the murders occurred in less than ten days, and as yet the perpetrator or perpetrators have not been apprehended. Every effort is being made to bring him or them to justice, but to no avail.
The authorities have been stimulated in their efforts to trace the perpetrator or perpetrators by the statements which seems to be generally accepted that Jack the Ripper must have emigrated to Central America, and selected this city for his temporary abode.”
FROM THE OLD WORLD TO THE NEW
The Penny Illustrated Paper, on the same day, Saturday, 23rd February, 1889, wondered if these latest atrocities might account for the sudden cessation of the murders, following the murder of Mary Kelly on November 9th, 1888:-
“It would seem that “Jack the Ripper” has transferred himself from the Old World to the New, and is practising his horrible crimes with as much impunity in the Far West as he did in the east of London.
Some time ago, it was reported that some unknown criminal had perpetrated several murders of the well-known Whitechapel type upon the outcast women in Jamaica.
Now, a similar outbreak of crime has occurred in Nicaragua.
The last Whitechapel murder was committed on Lord Mayor’s Day, Nov. 9, since which time there have been no similar atrocities in the east of London.
We now learn that, at the beginning of January, similar atrocities were taking place in Nicaragua, and that about the end of December equally barbarous mutilations are reported from Jamaica.
It would be interesting to know whether any steamer left the Thames after Nov. 9, and, after calling at Jamaica in December, proceeded to Central America.
If such a steamer exists, there seems a strong probability that the murderer will be found among her crew – at any rate, the clue is one which might well be followed up by our detectives.”